Provoke is a verb meaning to stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone. (Merriam Webster)
Notice that it is “typically”, not always, an unwelcome reaction or emotion. As we instructed in Hebrews 10:24 KJV “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…”
There was an incident at work the other day with a colleague. I allowed this person’s actions to provoke me. Not to love. Not to good works. I became upset. I felt attacked.
You know, some of the best messages I have ever heard preached/taught had to do with Jesus’s beatitudes. You know, loving your enemies and blessing those that curse you… Walking the extra mile.
It’s hard road to walk. That extra mile. That blessing and loving those that curse you, hurt you, abuse you and despitefully use you. But, it’s necessary. It’s what sets us apart. I think I spent the whole day praying, God, teach me to love my colleague. I didn’t want to do to that person, what they had done to me. I didn’t want to react in kind. I wanted to react instead with love. To be honest, the incident occurred at 9am and even driving home after 6pm, I prayed, God, help me to love my colleague.
I don’t ever want to respond to someone in kind when the experience is negative. When we return someone’s evil with good, negative with positive, I believe we will provoke not only them, but also anyone who may happen to witness the incident to good works. They just may pay it forward.
I’ve been able to return to work and even face my colleague with a genuine smile. At the end of the day, God is in control!
*Original Image by A.B